Definition


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Parity is about fairness. Americans with behavioral health conditions often have more difficulty getting the treatment and services they need when compared to individuals seeking other medical care. Explore parity-related information regarding legislation, statutes, and regulatory actions since the Federal Parity Law was passed in 2008.

Alaska Parity Law

There are several sections of the state insurance law relevant to parity. There are two sections about behavioral health coverage, a very brief section about mental health coverage, and a section about autism coverage.

Behavioral Health Coverage

This section requires small employer fully-insured plans and large employer fully-insured plans to “comply with the mental health or substance use disorder benefit requirements established” by the Federal Parity Law.

Substance Use Disorder Coverage

This section requires large employer fully-insured plans and small employer fully-insured plans with more than 5 employees to offer optional coverage for substance use disorder services. There are no further details in this section about the nature of this coverage.

Autism Coverage

This section requires individual plans,large employer fully-insured plans, and small employer fully-insured plans with more than 20 employees to cover autism services through age 20.

Financial requirements for autism services must be the same as those in place for other medical services.

Plans cannot have any limits for outpatient visits.

Autism spectrum disorder is defined as “pervasive developmental disorders, or a group of conditions having substantially the same characteristics as pervasive developmental disorders, as defined in the DSM-IV-TR, as amended or reissued from time to time.”

Treatment for autism is listed as (these are all defined in the law):

  • Habilitative or rehabilitative care (includes applied behavior analysis )
  • Pharmacy care
  • Psychiatric care
  • Psychological care
  • Therapeutic care

Small employer fully-insured plans with 21 to 25 employees can file for an exemption if compliance with this section caused premium costs to increase by at least 3% in a 12-month period.

State Parity Reports

View the state parity reports to learn about legislation, regulation, and litigation related to parity implementation

State Parity Reports

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Common Violations

In seeking care or services, be aware of the common ways parity rights can be violated.